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Coffea arabica

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds are intermediate in storage behaviour. They can tolerate some drying, but will lose viability at low temperatures. The seeds may also have physiological dormancy.

Coffea arabica (Image: RBG Kew)

Seed Storage

This species has Intermediate seeds.

Researchers have found that drying seeds to around 8% moisture content will not cause a detrimental loss in viability. The seeds should be stored at temperatures close to 5°C, but no lower than this.

Germination Requirements

Remove the covering structures of the seed before germination. Germinate on agar, germination paper or sand at 25°C. Germination and development may also be encouraged in-vitro, by excising the embryo and placing it on a supportive medium.

The seeds of this species may be Physiologically Dormant. This type of dormancy can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat. Use a moist pre-chill or pre-heat treatment (depending on local climatic conditions), before germinating the seeds on agar, germination paper or sand at their optimum temperature. If this does not work, you can perform delicate surgery to enable the embryo to grow. Excise the tissue near the root tip.

Seed Morphology

The seed has a spatulate embryo.

See more images of this species at VIRBOGAand the Digital Atlas of Economic Plants.

Coffea arabica (Image: RBG Kew)



Accepted name: Coffea arabica L.

Synonyms: none

Common name: arabica coffee

References and Links

  • Baskin, C.C. and Baskin J.M. (1998). Seeds: ecology, biogeography, and evolution of dormancy and germination. Academic Press, USA.
  • AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland, and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Coffea arabica.
  • PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) - Wageningen, Netherlands: Coffea arabica.
  • SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Coffea arabica.
  • Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Coffea arabica.
  • Kew species profile: Coffea arabica
  • More about the Rubiaceae family